Ladysoal moves forward, but remembers where she came from

Julia Ferrell

2013 will be a big year for Sharika “Soal” Sawer.

After years of a growing fanbase for her former band and current solo project, Ladysoal, Sawer will be featured on the new MySpace Pick Me Project, which is headed by Justin Timberlake. Later in the spring, Sawer will also be making an appearance on national television, and will spend most  of her year in Los Angeles, CA.

Though Sawer will be away from Ames for a majority of this year, she will always remember her hometown.

‘I’m definitely living my dream,” Sawer said. “The fact that I just got back from LA and I just got done filming the Justin Timberlake project, that’s just a manifestation come true.”

The Pick Me Project is part of Timberlake’s launch of the new MySpace, which is aimed to feature artists already breaking into the entertainment industry. Through word of mouth, Sawer was selected as one of the 1,200 featured artists in Timberlake’s project. The featured members include musicians, actors, producers and more, and Sawer estimated that she is one of 500 musicians in the project.

“I’m pretty honored to be one of the 1,200 out of a million actresses and singers,” Sawer said. “It’s not just being his featured artist and having that turn into a great networking thing for me. It’s just to be able to say I was part of a Justin Timberlake project, I could die happy. That’s any artist’s ultimate dream, and I’m just excited for all the doors it will open for me.”

Sawer’s video on the site will be dropping soon, and Sawer expects a new wave of fans to come in. But Sawer wants Ames fans to know that she will not be leaving her hometown any time soon.

“I still live here, my son’s still here, my friends are still here, I still have a lot of professional relationships here,” Sawer said. “But I don’t know how much I’ll be playing, I don’t know how much time I’ll have. I don’t really know what my involvement is going to be.”

While Sawer said she has been impacted by the local scene, other members of the Ames music community feel the same way about her. Nate Logsdon, frontman of Mumford’s, said he and Sharika “go back pretty far,” as he used to play guitar in her band, Ladysoal. Logsdon said Sharika’s drive makes her stand out in the crowd at any performance.

“She works really hard. She gets out there a lot, online and throughout Iowa, playing shows. She’s a pretty memorable presence and a very dynamic performer,” Logsdon said. “She’s really driven, she’s really ambitious and she has a clear vision of what she wants to do. She really keeps me on my toes, as a performer. Just seeing her makes me want to put on a good show too.”

Bryon Dudley, owner of the local recording studio The Spacement, said he remembers first meeting Sharika when she recorded her first Ladysoal album in his studio. Dudley said her attention to vocals makes her a memorable performer in the scene.

“She has brought a focus to vocals, because she’s an incredible singer. And I think she is also a very passionate performer,” Dudley said. “Seeing her rage up on that stage is something I think a lot of performers find very inspiring.”

Though Sawer said she is enjoying her new recognition, she wants fans to take away something more important from her music.

“I went [to LA] and talked about what my mission is and for me, it’s not just about being an artist,” Sawer said. “People can get really low, and I think when people get hurt, they take that as who they are. I just want people to know that it has nothing to do with who you are. Everybody hurts. I think the world needs to know that you don’t have to have a secret personality trait to be a superstar and be successful and follow your dreams. You just have to make the decision to do it, and I want to be living proof of that. I have long since accepted that I’m an artist with an extraordinary amount of talent and I’m very powerful in that way. I think this is the first year I’ve actually let myself go after things I should be going after.”

As Sawer prepares for her year in Los Angeles, she said Ames fans and friends can help her by continuing to be supportive of the new MySpace project, and support her when she appears on television in the spring.

“It’s been a great ride,” Sawer said. “I love you guys. I really feel the love. Thank you for letting me express myself. Thank you for supporting me.”